BlackBerry Mercury wants to make the keyboard real again

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The last few BlackBerry phones we've reviewed: all duds. But the guys who picked up the license to make the next crop promise way better 'Berrys, and that starts with the preproduction phone at CES 2017 that's rumored to be called the Mercury.

A touchscreen Android phone crowns a QWERTY keyboard that you can also swipe your finger along to flip through screens and scroll up and down, like you could on the Priv and Passport. There's also a fingerprint reader in the divot of the spacebar, which helps keep the "Mercury" up to date. (The space bar is no home button, though.)

BlackBerry was all but dead until TCL, the Chinese company behind Alcatel phones, picked up the license to make more of them, including the underwhelming BlackBerry DTEK 50 and DTEK 60. This model sees a return to the BlackBerry branding of the company's heyday.

You'll find no water-proofing here, but you do get a convenience key on the right that you can program to launch other apps, like the camera or your email. I really love these, especially once you get used to using them.

We don't have specs, a price or an official name, but we do know that the phone has a headset jack, USB-C and a hefty aluminum build tempered by a soft-touch backing (it felt grippy, not slippery). And of course, it embraces BlackBerry's internally lauded security system, which it claims measures up to Apple's iOS and Samsung's Knox for end-to-end security.

The BlackBerry "Mercury" will go on sale at the end of February, or soon after. Look for many more leaks and rumors before then.

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Where to Buy

BlackBerry Mercury

Part Number: CNETBBMERCURY

Visit manufacturer site for details.